It’s been an eternity coming but today I lost my case against the MPA members. The High Court held me liable for infringing the copyrights of MPA and tortiously conspiring to injure their interests by unlawful means. Shitty and unnecessary: someone I regarded as a trustworthy colleague fucked me over to save himself. Hardly nice even if it was understandable: had he not done so he and I would have been fine. Like a lot of clever people Chris Elsworth was prone to dumb choices. As it is I now owe the MPA £1.3million, HMRC £1.3 million & much more to come. I’m searching for my cheque book.
Life moves on. I will be bankrupted by this but I am planning my comeback. I’ve always had a fascination with Usenet, long before I met & then bought Newzbin, and I intend to develop technology to update Usenet and make it suitable for the 21st century & hopefully more generally popular. My other obsession is privacy technology and securing Internet chat (somewhat ironically) against government surveillance . And I am hoping to get a beta of my secure email service running soon.
First, you’ll be relieved to hear, this time GL was able to remember what he ate. The foodless restaurant review was a novelty well worth a try but perhaps a tad too avant-garde. Second the French Pantry is owned by a friend, Simon, so there will be no pretence that this is a neutral review: but had it been shit this review would not have been written. As it is TFP is GL’s favourite restaurant in Ludlow and he did pay his own tab.
Mr & Mrs GL were accompanied to TFP by two glamorous sophisticated London types: Betty & Rufus, respectively a historical person and a journalist. We hoped to impress them with our knowledge of fine eating and experience of indoor lavatories. We even made sure there was no dung on our wellies, well sophisticated us.
That said GL’s first faux pas was to order the Burgundy snails. Not that there is anything wrong with snails and TFP’s rendition of them was perfect, but if one asked Egon Ronay to fry a car tyre it would still taste like a car tyre. GL adores snails. He really does but he can’t figure out why: they taste like pencil rubber. And that’s why they come slathered in garlic butter. If you presented GL with a bucket of his own entrails slathered in garlic sauce he’d eat them and he suspects most people would. But the puzzle & paradox of snails remains: characterless yet desired. To rub it in the waitress said that it was almost exclusively men who ordered them. The crushing implicit suggestion was that it was just a testosterone thing. GL?! Macho?
Rufus was jolly sporting and rather than a well deserved snigger at GL he ordered the snails as well and was just as delighted. If you like snails TFPs are as good as they get. They don’t make much of starter however, being rather insubstantial, and GL would rather have had them as an extra, a starter starter.
Main course for GL was Grilled Hake Fillet, Seafood & Chorizo Paella. It’s always a pleasure to see a bowl of lemoned water arrive to accompany one’s dish; things will become tactile and messy. Shelling prawns is very schoolboyish fun – a bit like pulling the wings off flies but more socially acceptable and less likely to result in a trip to the school psychiatric counsellor. TFP’s Paella suffered from a slight excess of liquid. It should have been bone-dry unlike, say, Risotto which should be a bit sticky, but it was no big deal as the flavour was fragrant and it wasn’t overwhelmed with the pointless extras that usually ruin the simplicity of Paella. The Hake was exquisite: firm and sweet crumbling at the lightest press of a fork.
Rufus had Moules Marinieres a dish that comes with lemon water and, traditionally, an obligation to build a small castle out of the empty shells. The mussels were fine (they were in the Paella too) and no-one in their right mind drinks the liquor so who can say what that was like?
Betty and Mrs GL had the Toulouse Style Cassoulet. This is a dish more suited to a winter’s evening: so heavy & filling that after few bowls one could go out and plough the fields without needing a tractor. In truth Mrs GL has always politely declined to be hooked up to a plough to test this thesis. Having had the generosity to finish off Mrs GL’s Cassoulet GL can say that the duck was delicate and fell off the bone easily; the sausage was garlicy and well textured. Betty wasn’t keen on the oiliness of the dish but one suspects that was merely dieter guilt: she is known to be a bit mental.
TFP is a tiny place so it can get a bit ‘intimate’ and there is usually some bellend talking too loudly. That was us on Wednesday but the service is good and the bill reasonable enough that there was no point in doing the usual runner when it arrived (Plus, Simon has our home address).
They arrived at the Lion Hotel courtesy of that most modern manifestation of serendipity: the Travelzoo special offer. Would GL be delivered into a gourmand heaven, or exotic bacteria and a course of powerful antibiotics?
The Lion Hotel has been around since the 16th Century. Its interior seems not to have been radically updated since then: the look and smell evoked vivid nostalgic memories of GL’s old boarding school. Alas that did not bode well for the food: he ascribes his lead lined stomach to the sentient fare found in most public schools of the 60s. Nor was the ambience much better. Granted it was a weekday evening but it felt as though they were in death’s grey waiting room; one of the Four Horsemen was finishing his dessert before laying waste to a Dafur refugee camp. The waiting staff, by contrast, were very helpful and gave the lie to UKIP clowns: god forbid they should have been served by sullen bored Shrewsbury teenagers rather than enthusiastic Poles planning to use their handsome wages to buy a tractor factory in Gdansk. GL thinks that they knew he was a restaurant reviewer because they shoved them into a corner where passing farmers could gawp at them through the windows but where they couldn’t smell the toilets or see what the other diners were eating.
The meal? Ah well, there was a bit of difficulty there. GL is barely remember what he ate. This is generally a blessing in the antechamber to the afterlife; how would you feel being able to remember every day of the 50,000 years spent waiting to pass on to a better place? Not very bloody happy you can be assured. So as a defence the grey cells fade and as the sun sinks below the horizon the day’s memories recede into a warm fuzzy but vague glow. So, GL struggles. The meal was, oh Christ! the adjective bag is empty, erm, O.K. He remembers the Ham Hock starter. He remembers it because these are rarely done well, huge globs of jelly that looks like frozen snail slime drowning some third rate pork left over from yesterday’s £10 All-You-Can-Eat lunch buffet. It was actually good. The main course was fish he thought. At least he assumed so since it was the one that got away and he’s buggered if he remembers it. He thinks his wife was there but he can’t remember that either. It’s the ambience – it’s got a Shining thing going on.
So that’s the Lion Restaurant: once glorious, now fading and waiting to die. A bit like GL’s career, but lets not get all bitter. If you want somewhere to dump a mistress, somewhere private that will swallow up any amount of excess emotion this is it.
The next review GL will remember the food, he swears it, and don’t give a damn if it makes for an old fashioned review.
[edit: changed to the mandatory third person house style . Doh, Facepalm]
In restarting his blog one of the things Geeklawyer will be doing less of is the law (being now an ex-barrister); what he’ll be doing much more of is reviews of shit that I really like. And golly does he like eating out and drinking.
How not to do an asshole restaurant review? Hard. Some food critics do reviews that have little to do with the food or the restaurant but are more about the reviewer & their West London social tribe (*cough* AA Gill). Buuuut, if the restaurant really is dull? How does one step on the chef’s meatballs without being thought to do so just for laughs? Chefs are delicate creatures protective of their shells and GL, while being an admitted cunt, doesn’t like to twist the knife too hard.
An additional complication is that GL is now married to a sweet naive girl who has promised conjugal consequences if there is any reoccurrence of old-skool GL behaviour. Honestly, she is worse even than the infamous Ruthie and she refuses to be referred to in reviews as ‘Er Indoors or The Little Woman pfft.
My first review, of the Lion Hotel in Shrewsbury, will appear shortly. Welcome back
Many of you wept inconsolable tears of grief when the old blog shuttered its doors several years ago. This tragedy was forced on GL by necessity: he had his anonymity stripped from him in an egregious abuse of privacy by ne’er do wells in the film industry. His controversial and contrarian scribblings were being used to portray his character in an accurate light. You can imagine how unfortunate that was.
But. He is back. And still in the third person.
The new blog will still engage in ranting but, inevitably, will be less … intemperate, and with less alcohol fuelled rage. Since GL is no longer a practicing lawyer the contents will reflect a more varied life than he had hitherto: film & restaurant reviews, motoring, photography geekery, and pretty much any other ephemera that flits across GL’s horizon.
It may not be possible to resurrect any of the old blog posts from the old site and add them to this site but if it is possible it will be done.
Last week was a bit mental: back from skiing plus the Transformational Government conference and two trials. With all that over Geeklawyer has been able to restore the real blog. Now he just has to prepare for the renewed DoS attack!
This blog will be kept as a backup – ‘just in case‘.
The Sun reports that a trial in Reading descended into anarchy when the defendant, a pikey accused of a shooting, leapt from the dock and made a successful dash for freedom. In the process he bit a cop’s nose. He seems to have been helped by friends who were waiting.
The funny bit that caught Geeklawyer’s eye was that the prosecuting barrister Ian Hope tried to be a hero. He threw off his wig and gown and gave chase. It could have ended so well but one of McInerney’s accomplices tripped him up as he ran.
Mr Hope will now be rueing the fact that he didn’t prepare well enough for his case.
Police are stopping all pony and traps in the area.
Geeklawyer was involved in a rather turgid IP trial in the High Court today. Patent infringement, design rights blah blah yawn etc.
Frankly it was all he could do to count the wodge of £50 notes he was being paid to say “No My Lord, that’s not right …” And he wasn’t doing very well. His Lordship had made clear his interest in Geeklawyer earlier in the trial: usher delivered notes giving invitations to meet in His Lordship’s chambers to ‘discuss the case‘. Geeklawyer is ruggedly hetero and doesn’t go in for the bottom action favoured by conservative MPs and Wykehamists, and politely claimed another pressing interlocutory matter in the Patents County Court.
Well of course spurned judiciary are the worst of all. All of a sudden Geeklawyer’s submissions were meeting large and insurmountable brick walls:
“Your client has the patent [Mr Geeklawyer] covering the activities of the defendant, but perhaps my view is that they should not be held liable for infringement when when opposed by such a desirable barrister who is too proud to meet me for private discussions?”
Mercifully in the 2 hour lunch recess in the pub Geeklawyer read MsR’s blog post about her pole dancing exploits. Inspiration ensued.
The clock chimed midday. Geeklawyer, tanned dark muscular, clad only in Calvin Klein boxers slid through His Lordship’s chamber door. The £2 tube of olive oil was well bought: the oil smothered his rippling muscular pectorals and glistened on his engorged thigh muscles as he wound around his Lord’s 18th century oak doors in the half-light of the Strand afternoon.
“Martin, I mean, My lord [X]. We need to talk about urgent emissions, I’m sorry, submissions”
Geeklawyer leant back against Lord X’s oak bookcase, with its priceless array of 18th century authorities, and extended a muscular defined thigh slowly and delicately around Lord X’s lapdancing pole (an odd thing for a High Court judge to have in his chambers he thought). He could see the shuddering excitement of his Lord compounding as the gyrations of Geeklawyer’s writhings became more urgent and thrusting: as though for all the World the pole was that Love lost in the heady days of yore. Lenore. Nevermore. The visage from the Plutonian shore.
Geeklawyer won his case. An arduous victory. For God’s sake it had better not go to appeal.
Geeklawyer was at a recent government event on a trendy “hot right now” topic. All the government departments had picked up on the buzz, as had the press. It was soooooo very cool that all the major US European and UK consultancy groups had twigged that here was a new way for them to relieve the tax payer of fuckloads of cash. A conference was, therefore, arranged at a swish expensive location and all the top tier government departments, ministers and consultancies appeared: IBM EDS yada yada.
Geeklawyer has a friend who runs a small 5 man company with a cool idea: an obvious one, with the benefit of hindsight, but which he, like EDS, could undertake. The cost to government, however, would be 1/1000th of what EDS would charge in order to fail to do at all.
Geeklawyer, at his friend’s grovelling bequest, went along for a laugh: free ultra posh dinner, plus the opportunity to wind up the senior civil servants and government ministers in attendance (some of whom he had bullied whilst at school).
His chum is temporary flavour of the month for reasons too tiresome to go into; and everyone want’s to be his best friend. It is lovely to have friends of course: Geeklawyer understands this at a conceptual level. Geeklawyer is his friend also. Oh to have politicians and lawyers as one’s friends. Lucky boy.
But all of this is mere cynicism. What amused Geeklawyer was that because he attended with his ‘flavour of the month‘ chum, a senior civil servant (a Number 10 bod no less) described Geeklawyer to several drooling ministers as “One of the top three innovators in [concept X] in the country” – even though he had no fucking idea who Geeklawyer was other than ‘something to do with Mr Hot‘. Said ministers offered immediate sexual favours; well almost. And even though Geeklawyer had only the faintest idea of concept X. Most odd.
Were Geeklawyer not a more principled and decent fellow he might have chosen to exploit such ill-gained capital for personal profit. Fortunately for democracy Geeklawyer possesses stout principal, and an unshakeable moral core.
The modern political malaise can be traced to non-public school types, such as grisly grammar school oiks, getting into Oxbridge and thence public life or the professions and abusing in the most caddish fashion such accidental opportunities.
Henry Porter at the Observer has written a magnificent piece on the government’s castration of rights and liberties. Some of his insights that Geeklawyer thought were his alone:
Parliamentary democracy is a sham: the Executive pwns Parliament because of whipping and candidate selection by parties.
A genuine bill of rights could be embedded in an unwritten or written constitution to make Executive abuse problematic.
‘rights and responsibilities’ a phrase much in vogue among government asserts that rights are those given by the government as a favour and for which one pays with ‘responsibilities’.
Unelected judges are a safeguard for the citizen. It is an unelected judiciary, not vulnerable to bigoted populism, that will stand the best chance of stemming Executive excess.
Well worth a read.
- Rather shitty day.
- Restaurant review: The French Pantry, Ludlow
- Restaurant review: The Lion Hotel, Shrewsbury
- Restaurants: cooking up a review
- The blog returns!
- Proper blog back up
- Tripping over the pike
- Pole dancing for the judge
- Is this how government works?
- A *real* bill of rights – circumventing the Executive
- Apropo nothing much
- CharonQC now as bad as Geeklawyer?